Man charged with great Danish fraud surrenders

Sunday, December 7, 2008 | 4:53 p.m. CST; updated 5:00 p.m. CST, Sunday, December 7, 2008

LOS ANGELES — A Danish executive wanted in his home country in connection with an $85 million corporate fraud scandal surrendered to police and was awaiting return to Denmark, authorities said.

Stein Bagger, chief executive of Copenhagen-based software company IT Factory, walked into a downtown Los Angeles police station Saturday and told officers he was an international fugitive.

Bagger was turned over to federal authorities and was being held on immigration charges pending his return to Denmark, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Virginia Kice said Sunday. She declined to say when he would be returned to Denmark.

"He failed to disclose he had been involved in criminal activity in his native country," Kice told The Associated Press, adding that would have made him ineligible to enter the United States.

Los Angeles police were initially skeptical of Bagger, 41, who had recently been named Danish Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young.

"We've had several people come in and tell us they were the king of Denmark," police Officer Jack Richter told the Los Angeles Times.

Police said a computer check showed Bagger was indeed named in an Interpol warrant on charges of counterfeiting, forgery and fraud.

IT Factory declared bankruptcy last week after finding that much of its reported revenue resulted from bogus contracts allegedly drawn up by Bagger.

IT Factory Chairman Asger Jensby said earlier this month that Bagger had disappeared during a November trip to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. He said the company reported Bagger's disappearance to Interpol.

Bagger told authorities he flew from Dubai to New York, borrowed a friend's credit card and Audi sports car and drove to Los Angeles.

"You never know who's going to walk through the door," said police Lt. Paul Vernon, head of detectives for the Police Department's Central Division station where Bagger surrendered.


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